Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

My friend Gerald Mershimer, Professor of Preaching at Ohio Christian University, wrote this earlier today, it is fresh off the press. Thank you Gerald!

“Save Us, Lord, from Shallow Praise (A Palm Sunday Prayer)”


Save us, Lord, from shallow praise,

      That loves you only when it pays,

Conforms You to OUR means and ways,

Save us, Lord, from shallow praise.


Give us, Lord, a praise that’s true,

        That burns with holy love for You,

That dies to self and lives for YOU, 

        That takes our cross and sees it through.


Give us grace to bless your name,

         In our loss and in our shame,

Grace to bless you when we cry,

        Grace to trust when loved ones die,

Grace, when you won’t answer “Why?”,

        Grace to praise your Unseen Hand,

When we cannot understand,

        What you allow 

    or what you plan.


Give us, Lord true hearts of praise,

          Surrendered to YOUR means and ways.


Save us, Lord, from shallow praise.


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On January 29, 1845, the Evening Mirror published a poem that is a good one for cold nights. I admit some admiration for Edgar Allan Poe. In “The Raven” he excels at rhyming at the end of a line but also rhymes at other times throughout as well. This gives a sing song effect that makes even the less pleasant portions of content easy to listen to. Poe’s skill at vocabulary and his skill at using repetition make the poem sound like some kind of a “haunting hymn.” The opening strophe is enough to evoke something within the reader and I include it in an effort to maintain some classic culture, .

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,

Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—

Only this and nothing more.”

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In an effort to bring some culture to this blog, I thought I’d include some poetry. Here is something that seems fitting as the leaves begin to change and the air gets colder. William Shakespeare provides a scene and a song that has always intrigued me. The scene occurs in the middle of a dark cave where a cauldron is boiling. As thunder crashes, three witches enter. Three times a cat meows, once for each witch, a hedge pig whines, and the Harpier cries “tis time.”

The three witches chant and the fun begins. This might be a recipe you want to pass on.

“Round about the caldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.—
Toad, that under cold stone,
Days and nights has thirty-one;
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot!
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH.  Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
3 WITCH.  Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf;
Witches’ mummy; maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark;
Root of hemlock digg’d i the dark;
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,—
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingrediants of our caldron.
ALL.  Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
2 WITCH.  Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.”

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Wendell Berry is a farmer and the “mayor” of Fort William, KY. But his true gift is his ability to capture words and then turn them loose again in ways that make us see differently. He is a seer. By that, I mean he sees things and then writes about them and before you know it a tree a bird or darkness have become windows to see grace or grief or joy.

I am fortunate that Keightley gave me a copy of Berry’s New Collected Poems for Christmas. It is the kind of book to pick up when words become stale or thoughts hit a dead end or for just about any other reason. Berry has a knack of seeing things from multiple angles and this helps the reader to see things more clearly as well. Here are two poems I enjoy, one prior to dinner and the other afterward.

For the Hog Killing

“Let them stand still for the bullet, and stare the shooter in the eye,

Let them die while the sound of the shot is in the air, let them die as they fall,

let the jugular blood spring hot to the knife, let its freshet be full,

let this day begin again the change of hogs into people, not the other way around,

for today we celebrate again our lives’ wedding with the world,

for by our hunger, by this provisioning, we renew the bond.”


Prayer After Eating

“I have taken in the light

That quickened eye and leaf.

May my brain be bright with praise

Of what I eat, in the brief blaze

Of motion and of thought.

May I be worthy of my meat.”

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